Economic Justice

Global economic inequality – within and across nations – and its implications for the rights of the world’s most vulnerable people

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Sushma Raman

Executive Director

Sushma Raman is Carr Center's Executive Director. Sushma brings a rich and diverse background in philanthropy, human rights and social justice through her work in the U.S. and globally with the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundations, as well as her experience leading human rights programs, philanthropic collaboratives, and social justice foundations. 

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Mathias Risse. 10/7/2018. “Human Rights as Membership Rights in the World Society”.Abstract

The idea of human rights has come a long way. Even hard-nosed international-relations realists should recognize that the idea has become so widely accepted that nowadays it arguably has an impact. Many countries have made human rights goals part of their foreign policy. International civil society is populated by well-funded and outspoken human rights organizations. We have recently witnessed the creation of an entirely new institution, the International Criminal Court, as well as the acceptance, at the UN level, of guiding principles to formulate human rights obligations of businesses. Around the world, more and more local concerns are formulated in the language of human rights, a phenomenon known as the vernacularization, or localization, of human rights. Ordinary people increasingly express concerns in terms of human rights rather than a language that earlier might have come more natural to them. They are not just helping themselves to a legal and political machinery. They also make clear that they are articulating concerns others have in similar ways where they live.

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Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s eighth secretary-general, to join Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy as senior fellow in 2018-2019

July 6, 2018

Cambridge, MA—Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) announced today that Salil Shetty, the outgoing secretary-general of Amnesty International, will join the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy as a senior fellow for the 2018-2019 academic year.

 

Shetty will be stepping down from...

Read more about Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s eighth secretary-general, to join Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy as senior fellow in 2018-2019
Mathias Risse and Marco Meyer. 6/12/2018. The Globalized Myth of Ownership and Its Implications for Tax Competition.Abstract

Tax competition (by states) and tax evasion (by individuals or companies) unfold at a dramatic scale. An obvious adverse effect is that some states lose their tax base. Perhaps less obviously, states lose out by setting tax policy differently – often reducing taxes – due to tax competition. Is tax competition among states morally problematic? We approach this question by identifying the globalized myth of ownership. We choose this name parallel to Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel’s myth of ownership. The globalized myth is the (false) view that one can assess a country’s justifiably disposable national income simply by looking at its gross national income (or gross national income as it would be absent certain forms of tax competition). Much like its domestic counterpart, exposing that myth will have important implications across a range of domains. Here we explore specifically how tax competition in an interconnected world appears in this light, and so by drawing on the grounds-of-justice approach developed in Mathias Risse’s On Global Justice.         

Jacqueline Bhabha. 5/20/2018. Can We Solve The Migration Crisis?, Pp. 140. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Every minute 24 people are forced to leave their homes and over 65 million are currently displaced world-wide. Small wonder that tackling the refugee and migration crisis has become a global political priority.

But can this crisis be resolved and if so, how? In this compelling essay, renowned human rights lawyer and scholar Jacqueline Bhabha explains why forced migration demands compassion, generosity and a more vigorous acknowledgement of our shared dependence on human mobility as a key element of global collaboration. Unless we develop humane 'win-win' strategies for tackling the inequalities and conflicts driving migration and for addressing the fears fuelling xenophobia, she argues, both innocent lives and cardinal human rights principles will be squandered in the service of futile nationalism and oppressive border control.
2018 Apr 11

Study Group on North Korean Human Rights - "From Pyongyang to Pyongchang and Back: Engagement, Security, and Human Rights"

3:00pm to 4:30pm

Location: 

Littauer 324 (Fainsod Room), HKS, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

This study group, led by Carr Center Fellow, Jung-Hoon Lee, is open to all. It will meet three times during the spring, 2018 semester:

Read more about Study Group on North Korean Human Rights - "From Pyongyang to Pyongchang and Back: Engagement, Security, and Human Rights"
2018 Mar 29

Study Group on North Korean Human Rights - "North Korean Human Rights: Where are we Now?"

3:00pm to 4:30pm

Location: 

Littauer 324 (Fainsod Room), HKS, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

This study group, led by Carr Center Fellow and Inaugural Ambassador for North Korean Human Rights, Jung-Hoon Lee, is open to all. It will meet three times during the spring, 2018 semester:

Read more about Study Group on North Korean Human Rights - "North Korean Human Rights: Where are we Now?"
2018 Apr 18

The Fierce Urgency of Now Speaker Series: Secretary Ash Carter - Human Rights and International Security - Some Perspectives from the Pentagon

1:00pm to 2:15pm

Location: 

Wexner 434AB, HKS, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Fierce Urgency of Now speaker seriesThe Carr Center is excited to announce its 2018 Speaker Series: The Fierce Urgency of Now: Human Rights in 2018. The series will be faciliated by Professor Mathias Risse...

Read more about The Fierce Urgency of Now Speaker Series: Secretary Ash Carter - Human Rights and International Security - Some Perspectives from the Pentagon
2018 Apr 23

The Fierce Urgency of Now Speaker Series: Mathias Risse - Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence: Reflecting on Some Bleak Scenarios

5:30pm to 6:45pm

Location: 

Wexner 434AB, Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA

Fierce Urgency of Now speaker seriesThe Carr Center is excited to announce its 2018 Speaker Series: The Fierce Urgency of Now: Human Rights in 2018. The series will be faciliated by Professor Mathias Risse...

Read more about The Fierce Urgency of Now Speaker Series: Mathias Risse - Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence: Reflecting on Some Bleak Scenarios
2018 Apr 17

The Fierce Urgency of Now Speaker Series: Jacqueline Bhabha - The Human Rights of Non-Citizens Under Trump

5:30pm to 6:45pm

Location: 

Bell Hall (Belfer 500), Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA

Fierce Urgency of Now speaker seriesThe Carr Center is excited to announce its 2018 Speaker Series: The Fierce Urgency of Now: Human Rights in 2018. The series will be faciliated by Professor Mathias Risse...

Read more about The Fierce Urgency of Now Speaker Series: Jacqueline Bhabha - The Human Rights of Non-Citizens Under Trump
2018 Apr 09

The Fierce Urgency of Now Speaker Series: Stephen Rickard - Make me do the Right Thing: Politicians and Human Rights

5:30pm to 6:45pm

Location: 

Rubenstein 414 AB (Democracy Lab), Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA

Fierce Urgency of Now speaker seriesThe Carr Center is excited to announce its 2018 Speaker Series: The Fierce Urgency of Now: Human Rights in 2018. The series will be facilitated by Professor Mathias Risse...

Read more about The Fierce Urgency of Now Speaker Series: Stephen Rickard - Make me do the Right Thing: Politicians and Human Rights
Trump's First Year: How Resilient is Liberal Democracy in the US?
John Shattuck, Amanda Watson, and Matthew McDole. 2/15/2018. Trump's First Year: How Resilient is Liberal Democracy in the US?. Carr Center for Human Rights Policy . Cambridge, MA: Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper by Ambassador John Shattuck, Amanda Watson and Matthew McDole examines the resilience of liberal democracy and democratic institutions in the US after one year of the Trump administration. 


SUMMARY
 

In its 2016 “Democracy Index” report, the Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded the United States from a “full” to a “flawed democracy”. The report cited “an erosion of trust in political institutions” as the primary reason for the downgrade.[1] In January 2018 Freedom House offered an equally dire assessment: “democratic institutions in the US have suffered erosion, as reflected in partisan manipulation of the electoral process . . . and growing disparities in wealth, economic opportunity and political influence.”[2]

Declining levels of political participation and public confidence in government in the US are not new, but the populist forces that propelled the election of Donald Trump in 2016 signaled a new level of public disillusionment with democratic politics as usual. There has been a sharp increase in public discontent with the system of governance in the US over the last fifteen years. An October 2017 Washington Post/University of Maryland poll found that 71% of Americans believe that political polarization and democratic dysfunction have reached “a dangerous low point”.[3] Three years earlier, in 2014, a Gallup Poll showed that 65% of Americans were “dissatisfied with their system of government and how it works,” a dramatic reversal from 68% satisfaction twelve years earlier in 2002.[4]

The US is a flawed liberal democracy.[5] In theory, liberal democracy is the antithesis of authoritarianism. Its ingredients include free and fair elections, freedom of speech and media freedom, an independent judiciary, minority rights and civil liberties, a diverse civil society, the rule of law and a system of checks and balances against concentrations of power. The institutions and elements of liberal democracy are designed to be a bulwark against tyranny by both the executive and the majority.

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